Pier and beam is one of the most popular foundation structures in the US and with good reason. The beams provide horizontal support for the floors of your house, with a mixture of large lumber beams laid parallel to each other and running the length of the house with joists on top of them supporting the subfloor that your own floors rest on. To give that structure deep secure roots the beams are supported by concrete piers that go deep into the earth and provide a better ‘grip’ on the soil than the slab foundation which is typically the alternative. It’s a great system but it is very different from a simple slab house leveling and requires experts to work on it properly. Which is why you should call Humble Foundation Repair for a free inspection of your pier and beam foundation and an assessment of what may need to be done to ensure that it continues to provide the structural solidity it was built for.
Block and Base
One alternative to pier and beam we encounter is block and base where a (usually) wood frame house sits on blocks that themselves rest directly on soil. These foundations suffer from changes in the moisture level of the soil since drought will dry the soil leading to shrinkage and that in turn means the blocks shift. Where there are both soil shrinkage and water run off problems you may get alternating shrinking and expanding which will accelerate soil movement under the blocks and often lead to the house becoming unlevel. Fortunately most block and base foundations include a crawl space so our experts can get in there and inspect your block and base to decide what kind of work or enhancement it needs to repair it.
Concrete Perimeter Beam
With most pier and beam foundations there is a concrete perimeter beam sometimes called a grade beam that runs around the perimeter of the property. Humble Foundation Repair can use that beam to lift the level of your house by inserting pressed pilings of concrete or steel into the ground for the beam to rest on. We can very precisely set their height which both levels the house and increases the strength of the foundations for the future.
Although the concrete piles are what reach down into the earth the whole structure of pier and beam foundations relies on the beams which are usually lumber. Wood is a fantastic construction material but if it starts to rot it will need repair and the replacement wood must be properly treated and installed. Call Humble Foundation Repair for your free inspection and we will be able to tell you immediately whether it is the piers, the beams, or both that need work.
Crawl Space Ventilation
The other area we like to look at, besides the blocks, beams, and piers, is the crawl space itself. Crawlspaces in foundations give us access to inspect the structural integrity of the foundation but if they are home to moisture they can become part of the problem by increasing the chances of wood decay. Improved and updated crawl space ventilation systems are the answer.